Book Concept

28 06 2013

conceptWell who would have thought that inspiration would strike at random on an otherwise typical Friday evening.

It came during an episode of The Apprentice while I was “kind of” writing a totally unrelated blog post (but in truth I was mainly ordering a take away meal for FFOMC and I from a local Indian Restaurant). But I digress; in short, this evening, the concept for my own work of fiction conveniently popped into existence out of nowhere.

I did post about the idea of writing a novel a while ago and have been wracking my brains since then for an original idea to get me started. I have no idea where my idea actually came from, but it has taken shape this evening and I can see a way to at the very least develop my thoughts.

To get the ball rolling I have decided that  tomorrow I will utilise the Evernote download suggested by FFOMC to map out a very sketchy storyline over the next week or so. Then I can start to build some character profiles to inhabit the world of the story that I have in mind.

By this time next week I will hopefully have committed some of my meandering thoughts onto my laptop hard drive.

I am excited about the idea of starting a more concrete project. This is a terrific project, especially at a time when I am feeling a little deflated and unmotivated after my very own “DRAGON” took a bit of a battering this week but I am full of confidence that she will be available to edit and make changes as I start to commit my thoughts to B&W.

So watch this space!

Advertisements




Advice to new bloggers

2 06 2013

blog

My baby sister called me this evening and apparently I have inspired her to join the blogging community. She is not the first; I appear to have encouraged a number of people to “give it a go”. This is really flattering but having been inspired by two blogging friends myself I remember reading their blogs and wondering how on earth they had mananged to come up with topics to write about.

My sister has only written a few posts so far but is keen to get creative and may even be encouraged to commit to posting once a day. However she is experiencing the typical writers block and nerves that any new blogger faces in the first month.

I am far from an expert on the subject of blogging. However I have managed to sustain my initial enthusiasm and currently post at least once a day.  I often have writers block but I have always pushed myself to keep writing. I have enjoyed the experience and appreciate this outlet for my creativity and want to share the advive I have offered my sister with anyone who is new to blogging and the wordpress community.

To all new bloggers – for what it is worth – this is my advice:

1/ Create a great “About” page: Nothing is more off-putting than one of those “this is an example of a page” messages. As a visitor to any new site; I tend to read recommended posts, maybe check out a few recent posts and I ALWAYS read the About page – this is how I can decide if it is a site I wish to follow and/or recommend. You will alter this regularly (as I do) as you start to generate followers and recognise what is unique about your site.

2/ Make sure you add categories and tags to all posts: This gives readers a quick way of accessing the topics you write about that they are most interested in reading. This is especially important if your blog is ecclectic and jumps from topic to topic. It is also a good way of making sure your Blog comes up in online searches.

3/ Write regularly: If you have written nothing new there is no reason for new visitors to check out your site and as a lot of people will check out more than one post when they visit. Remember, just because your post on that particular day is not a literary masterpiece doesnt mean new visitors wont stumble across some of you better work.

4/ Check out Freshly pressed: After all the more blogs you read and like and/or follow the more people will want to check out what you have written and its good for inspiration.

5/ Read a few random blogs each day: You expect people to read what you have written so return the favour.

6/ Use Social Media to drive site traffic: When you are ready to share your blog with close friends and family (and it is common to not want to do this straight away) – tag it on facebook and other social media sites. I personally took a long time to develop the confidence to do this but it really paid off and I discovered that my friends were very supportive and keen to read what I had writen.

7/ Read the Daily Post: This is a wealth of information about generating site traffic but also provides daily prompts and creative photo and writing challenges that will help you generate ideas for your blog.

8/ Postaday: If you are posting once a day, tag your posts with postaday and add a badge – this made a significant difference to my stats when I first started.

9/ Be unique: Do not be afraid to discuss your personal passions. Both myself and FFOMC receive regular visitors viewing the most obscure topics that we have written about.

10/ Try the 30 day challenge below:

30 day blog challengeWe all need ideas from time to time and getting started is the most difficult part. Once you have established a habit you will find is easier to come up with topics but the list above is a great way of creating content right at the beginning – I wish I had a copy when I first started out!





Mini break

29 05 2013

Mini break

FFOMC and I are enjoying a mini break. As well as giving us some much needed time off together I am of course looking for inspiration for some topics to write about when I get home.
I may blur the boundaries between fiction and fact when I write about this trip on my return but a number of possible topics have presented themselves.

While I continue to ponder – may I wish you all a happy half term!

 





You look…different

25 05 2013

Mirror

On Friday a close friend said to me “You look “different”.

She was in part making a direct comment about my current appearance – due to my sudden and unplanned weight lossparticularly noticable round my face. But as the conversation progressed I realised that there was more to it than a simple change in how I look. Over a period of time, even I have perceived in myself a subtle shift in my attitude, confidence, priorities and perhaps personality. Every experience, reaction and decision that I have ever had has resulted in miniscule shifts that combine to shape who I am as a person.

I have come to realise that – I am different.

I do not say this in a teenage angst “nobody understands me”, sort of way or by way of attempt to capture in words some sort of religious or spiritual process of enlightenment; but to acknowledge the contrast between the person I am now and the person I used to be. I would find it impossible to identify what exactly has changed – after all I have not had a personality transplant – but I do have a renewed sense of focus, confidence and purpose. None of these are qualities I was previously lacking but they somehow seem sharper and more clearly defined.

Is this simply an age thing? I am not sure.

I have experienced no life altering events or inspirational moments of late that have resulted in any deep reflection and periods of transition. Although I am comfortable in my own skin, deeply content with my lot in life, confident about how to affect the changes I desire and clear headed about my goals moving forward.

Change is inevitable. One of the most inspiration things I ever learnt from my father was the phrase “this too will pass”. We all change. Life moves on. The key thing is to identify the next step and be ready for it.

 





Book – Genre

5 05 2013

BookI think I may have caught the writing bug.

My interest in commiting my thoughts to the written word continues to increase despite my frequent attacks of writers block. I have come to realise that I would love to take on a more purposeful project to give my writing more focus and with an end product in mind.

Like millions of others before – I would love to see if I have a book in me.

At present my thoughts are without form and may never fully take shape. This will not change unless I take action.

I started to consider how aspiring writers get started. I have a million ideas floating round in my head but no through line, overall plot, characters etc.

It occured to me that commiting to a specific genre may be a good starting point. I found some helpful lists and started to consider my own reading for pleasure and any areas I felt particularly drawn to.

Genres

  1. Adventure
  2. Children and teenagers
  3. Chick lit
  4. Comics and Graphic novels
  5. Crime
  6. Disaster fiction
  7. Fairies
  8. Fantasy
  9. Friendship
  10. Historical fiction
  11. Horror
  12. Paranormal
  13. Picture books
  14. Poetry
  15. Religion
  16. Romance
  17. Sci-fi
  18. Thriller
  19. Vampires
  20. Witches, wizards and magic
I am very drawn to the Romance, Crime, Fantasy, Religion and Vampires – though obviously not all at once!
Once I have settled on this I can start to explore more specific details but for now this has given me a sense of purpose and some food for thought.




10 Reasons I am looking forward to going “BACK TO SCHOOL”

14 04 2013

Back to school

My response to the Daily Prompt: The Satisfaction of a List!

 

After two glorious weeks of thinking about work AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE; tomorrow I will make the dreaded journey back to school.

It is always hateful to return to work after a refreshing break – it doesn’t matter what industry you work in – and I must admit I am not looking forward to my return to my classroom one little bit.

But inspired by the daily prompt: the staisfaction of a list, I decided to look at the positive things that will come out of my first productive day in a fortnight, in a bid to motivate myself for my return, rather than obsessing over the reasons I would rather remain tucked up in bed, drinking endless cups of tea with a good book.

 

10 REASONS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING BACK TO SCHOOL

 

1/ FRIENDS: Just like the students, I am looking forward to seeing all my friends. It’s great participating in the banter in the staff room, comparing notes and sharing our stories. I work with some amazing people and it is always good to be in their company.

2/ SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT: Every day I spend at work  (and this feeling predates my career in teaching); I feel I have accomplished something. I feel the satisfying sense that I have earned my paycheck and am contributing in my own small way to the society in which I live.

3/ SUBJECT SPECIALISM: I love my subject specialism. Drama is now – and always has been – my passion. I am extremely blessed that I have the opportunity to do what I love every single day of my working life and even better, I get to share and pass on my skill and knowledge to other people.

4/ MAKING A DIFFERENCE: I work with kids from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities. In a strange way it is not always the outstanding talent in my classroom that makes me feel warm and fuzzy at night. It’s the kid who is an absolute nightmare, from a deprived or troubled background, who for some inexplicable reason loves my subject or simply responds well to me, who can make or break my day. Some of these kids who have (on the surface at least) so little, can give so much back when they are inspired.

5/ MAKING MONEY: Like it or not we all need cash! I earn a good salary and this means I can enjoy good times when I am on holiday.

6/ ROUTINE: I am definitely a creature of habit. When my life is devoid of structure and routine I flounder. I cope much better when I have a predictable routine to follow.

7/ APPRECIATE HOLIDAY: To paraphrase a quote I heard on TV recently: “If EVERYDAY is amazing then no day is truely amazing”. You can only appreciate the good times when juxtaposed with the bad ones.

8/ CHANCE TO USE MY BRAIN: I am fairly articulate and I am good at problem solving. These skills are better when they are put to work. In fact, I think that exercising your brain is as important as looking after your physical health. As delighted as I have been in my time off by my new shredder and ability to eradicate my old household bills and personal documments; it has hardly been a mental challenge that has caused me to utilise my grey matter. No matter what tomorrow brings, I know I will need to be thinking and on my toes at all times.

9/ 6 WEEKS TILL MY NEXT HOLIDAY!: One of the perks of my profession. Don’t get me wrong, I spend much of my time off marking, planning lessons, doing paperwork etc. BUT, it is infinitely better doing these tasks in my PJ’s, on my sofa, with the radio on than trying to focsu on endless spreadsheets when I am stuck at work. Roll on my next ‘break’!

10/ SOMETHING TO BLOG ABOUT: When you are confronted with 30 children each hour of your working life you collect wonderful stories. Children are fantastic inspiration for all aspiring writters because they say what they think, often without censoring themselves. Every day I find myself in absurd, humourous, tragic and inspiring conversations with the next generation and if that doesn’t give me something to blog about, then nothing will 🙂

 

Fellow teachers: please feel free to add your own thoughts about the reasons we continue to pursue our chosen: crazy/admirable/challenging/frustrating/wonderful [delete as appropriate] profession in the comments section below.

 

 





Artistic Licence

30 03 2013

Positivity

 I have been reading an ever increasing number of Blogs. It is interesting to read what others have written and helpful to consider what makes other Blogs appealing to me as a reader.

It is a way of seeking out inspiration as well as increasing your own site traffic. My husband directed me to the following site:

http://thebigblogcollection.wordpress.com/

In order to sign up I had to add my blog to a particular category. This was challenging.  I have a number of recurring themes but I write about a range of topics in my quest to post every day.  I wracked my brains considering my overall tone and attempted to identify similarities.

One thing I have been very conscious of is keeping the tone light hearted, humorous  and most importantly POSITIVE.These are the types of blogs I most enjoy reading whereas, I find it draining reading negative posts, even if I can relate to the issues under discussion. I have noticed that I adopt a lot of artistic licence in how I discuss and present personal experiences in ‘blogland’. I am sure a lot of bloggers relating personal experiences are selective about exactly what they include and what they edit out in order to make a specific point or convey a message to their readers.

Positivity seems the best strategy.. I often edit out the bad bits even when I am speaking to people. I am not ‘Mary Sunshine’ with a smile permanently plastered on my face, my life is not all rainbows and butterflies, I do of course have bad days  – but no one wants to hear me forever winging about my lot in life.

It started when I was younger when I listened to my Mum recounting stories to elderly relatives we would visit on Sunday afternoons. She had a manner of storytelling that was largely truthful but she would tweak minor details or merge conversations to humorous affect.

When I left home I made a point of calling family and friends regularly and editing out any bad experiences always presenting the events of my daily life in a positive way, after all these people cared about me and wanted to know that I was happy. I occasionally invent characters or rewrite my own history slightly if I think it will read better or lead me naturally to a better punch line.

How much artistic licence do you use when writing about yourself?

I'm part of Post A Day 2013